Itachi Uchiha was jumping from tree to tree at a leisurely pace. Even if he was going slower he would still be faster than a number of ninjas just because of the fact that he was that good. His thoughts were dominated by the jinchuuriki who was lying at the brink of death because of his foolish brother and his ridiculous way of gaining power. If Sasuke had followed a ninja who actually had a semblance of honor, or was actually strong he would understand. But falling for the trap of a snake? It was so…stupid and naïve, not to mention that the man had no compassion for another human being and was simply a mere shell of his former self. Once he had proposed the same deal to Itachi, he remembered the day quite clearly, and now had Sasuke as a consolation prize. "Well, I don't have time to worry about my foolish brother right now," he muttered as the huge statues of the valley of end came into the longer range of his Sharingan. "Kisame, stay behind the water fall, I don't want any unwanted eyes catching a glimpse of you, it could put the whole base in the risk of getting discovered," ordered Itachi as he took the lead and Kisame slowed down to better hide his presence.
When the older Uchiha finally reached the little valley with the famous waterfall rumored to be created by Hashirama Senju himself, because of his Mokuton abilities. He quickly scanned the perimeter and checked the whole area for any source of a chakra signature, and found none other than the faint one that he was looking for. With a hand signal he motioned for Kisame that it was safe and a black blur crossed the valley and was hidden safely behind the water fall before Itachi decided to land and check on the injured Jinchuuriki. As he neared the small body of a blonde boy, he could tell that the boy was in grave peril. A lot of blood had already flowed out of his body and the orange chakra of the fox was slowly receding back into his belly, it had almost run out a ninth of its chakra capacity. A full tail's worth, that was as much Chakra as Naruto had been able to call out. The visibly large hole in his chest was still oozing blood, but there wasn't much blood left and if had had to save the boy he would have to do something and be fast about it. Itachi knelt down and pulled out a rather large first-aid box from the folds of his Akatsuki cloak and laid it open next to the boy's body. Carefully he stripped the boy down so that his upper body was completely bare and started working diligently on the wound. After about twenty minutes, he had stitched it up to the best of his abilities, and thankfully the bleeding had stopped. Then had had taken out an anti-septic gel and rubbed a gracious amount on the wound before wrapping and bandaging it up thoroughly.
After giving another quick scan to his surroundings, he motioned for Kisame to come out and join him. Kisame emerged from the waterfall and stood next to his ever stoic partner. "Are you done? Can he travel or should we summon Zetsu to teleport him back to Ame?" even though Itachi did not show it on his features, Kisame knew him well enough to realize that he already cared for this injured gaki. And thinking about what Konoha had put him through, Kisame couldn't help but feel a tinge of pity for him as well.
"It will be too risky to call Zetsu here; his travel through the ground will leave enough furrows for them to follow us all the way to headquarters. We are going to carry him but first I want you to dispose his clothes off so that they lose his scent. It would not do to have Inuzuka scouts showing up in Ame. Understood?" Itachi was serious about taking the boy and that meant no amount of argument on this issue would persuade him to choose otherwise. Kisame nodded and took off the rest of Naruto's clothes off and put him in an extra Akatsuki robe that he had, which was six sizes too large on the boy. Then he summoned his sharks and fed his blood soaked clothes to them. Itachi thought it was a little gross but it had to be done as they did not have a better way to throw Konoha off their tail.
"Let's go," and off they went back towards Amegakure.
THREE DAYS LATER IN AMEGAKURE
Naruto stirred from his long slumber as he became aware of his surroundings, and they were not the ones had had been expecting. As his latest memories flooded back in his mind, he thought that he would be back in the valley, or maybe his apartment, or even the hospital but not a damp dingy dark room that had windows high in the wall and were so tiny that it would be hard to even stick his head out of them if he wanted to. As he became more aware of his surroundings, his survival instincts kicked in and he jumped out of the cot and thought of pulling out a kunai…only he had no kunai pouch. When he looked down he realized he was wearing a huge black robe with red clouds. Suddenly his mind flashed back to the moment where the two strangers had attacked him in the hotel room when he was with Jiraiya. They were wearing robes that were exactly the same as the one he was wearing. This could only mean one thing they had managed to finally capture him.
Suddenly the door to his room creaked open and a very kind looking woman was standing there. She had dark blue hair with a light blue rose on it. She had a piercing right below her lower lip and her eyelids were lined with what appeared to be purple eye liner though he was suspicious that it was something else entirely. She was also wearing the standard Akatsuki robe and her black leggings were visible where the robe ended. She looked at him for a few seconds before slowly moving closer. She stopped when she was about three feet away from him and stooped down so her face was the same level as his. A small smile creased her lips and she asked "Are you hungry?" Naruto just nodded dumbly and out of nowhere a tray piled with food appeared in her hands. She handed the tray to him and guided him to the small desk that was set at the corner of the small room. "Eat, and once you are done follow the hallway and go to the big room at the right of the end. There we will discuss what your future will be as long as you stay with us." With that she turned sharply and left without another word or even a whisper of sound from her movements.
Naruto looked back at the food and his stomach growled loudly reminding him that there was no reason to ignore the delicacies that were set in front of him. He dug in with gusto and before he even realized it he was done and gave a loud burp. He smiled as he rubbed his belly in content. Naruto's eyes suddenly shot open as he remembered what that woman had said and walked towards the room that she had asked him to. As he walked into the room, he saw twelve tall figures; all of them were silhouetted by the shadows that seemed to have enveloped the room even though it was bright day outside. He slowly moved forward and stood in the center of the circular room as the other twelve set of eyes seemed to contemplate what they intended to do with the jinchuuriki of the strongest and most volatile tailed beast. Finally a man spoke; the only feature that was clearly visible was his eyes and those were purple with spirals running over the pupils as well as the irises. He spoke with an air of power and authority that left no doubt in Naruto's mind that he was the leader, or the highest in command among all the people in that room. "Naruto Uzumaki, do you know why you are here?"
"No," Naruto said his loud voice echoing throughout the room.
"You are the jinchuuriki of the Nine-tailed Fox and the objective of Akatsuki is to collect and extract all the bijuus from their hosts. Since you are the nine-tailed fox, we cannot extract your bijuu from you yet."
"Does that mean I can go back?" asked Naruto even though he knew the answer to the question. Many small chuckles ran throughout the room and an outright laughter was heard from a guy who had a huge red scythe, slicked back white hair, and a maniacally evil face. One glance from their leader made him slow it down to a silent laughter that still raked his body every few seconds.
"No. You will remain under our care and will do as you are told, or else the consequence will be you spending the rest of your days in the dungeons. If you try to run or trick us the consequence will be the same. What I want to know is what do you want to do while you wait your turn for extraction?"
"Um…I don't know, I will probably train and then when I am strong enough I will kill that bastard Orochimaru, beat his little apprentice and drag him back to Konoha, and then once you are done extracting the fur-ball from me, I will go back and become the Hokage!" Naruto exclaimed the last part loud enough to be heard through the village of Amegakure. At that not just the white-haired guy, but almost every member in the room burst out laughing.
"Oh, this one will be enjoyable to have around," said the one Naruto knew as Kisame between bursts of laughter.
"So, I take it you wish to train?" asked their leader again when they had quieted down. Naruto nodded vigorously. "Then so it shall be. We will train you and give you missions to complete; you will do as we say. Is there anything else you wish to add?" Pain waited and when Naruto shook his head, he looked at the blue-haired lady again. She nodded and floated over to Naruto.
"Let's go back to your room, we have a lot of things to discuss," she said as she put a hand on his shoulder and guided him back towards the room where he had first woken up. Naruto did not need to be told twice, these people scared him more than he cared to admit, even to himself.
"You cannot be serious?" burst out Hidan when he was sure the boy was out of earshot.
"I am quite serious. And if you have a problem, then I suggest you deal with it because this boy is going to prove very important in our mission, in the future," replied Pain, effectively shutting him up.
"Who is going to the one responsible for training him?" came a gravelly voice and no one needed to be told that the one who had asked the question was Sasori the puppet master.
"We will have to assess the boy's skills and talents and then move from there. He is young, moldable, and has immense potential due to the mixture of bloodlines that he shares. He will be our asset, we will send him to capture the rest of the bijuus, and maybe even let him have Orochimaru and his little pet. It will be quite amusing to see Orochimaru realize his mistake for not realizing just how strong the Uzumaki truly is. We will start with his training tomorrow. The boy has fully recovered but I will give him one more day to rest up. Tobi, Itachi be at my office. The rest of you know what to do, you are all dismissed," said Pain before he shimmered and disappeared.
There was heavy silence in the room as all the council members waited for the Godaime Hokage to appear. The meeting was called as soon as Danzo's spies had informed that the Uchiha heir as well as the jinchuuriki had both disappeared from the village. Many of the civilian council members sat with smiles in their faces that indicated that they were quite happy with the Jinchuuriki gone, the fools did not understand the implications that Konoha was in because now they missed one of the strongest weapons in all the elemental nations. Finally a puffy eyed Tsunade walked in followed closely by Jiraiya, Kakashi, and her eternal assistant Shizune. Among the audience stood all the Konoha eleven, save for the ones who were currently admitted in the hospital for treatment. Their parents were also present unless they sat in the council itself, and many civilians were also there, this was a meeting of utmost importance after all.
"What is going on Tsunade?" asked Danzo, as he moved to stand up from his chair, he was addressing the village leader, and had to show respect no matter what his opinion was of her.
"Kakashi, please tell the council what you found," ordered Jiraiya from his place next to the wall.
"Yes, Jiraiya-sama! I followed the trail that the genin took as soon as I got information that Naruto and his genin teammates had gone after Sasuke to bring him back. But when I got there, I found no-one only these two things," Kakashi held up two zip lock bags, one held a Konoha head-band while the other held Tsunade's necklace that she had given to Naruto. "The only remains I found were a pool of blood. From the valley the trail went completely cold. I looked for a trail or some kind of mark that would lead me towards them but there was none. It seemed that their trail was erased on purpose, by someone far stronger than me," Kakashi finished and stepped back to his original spot.
"Are you saying that we lost one of our most important assets because of the Hokage sending him on a mission?" asked Danzo, he had hard edge to his voice as he stared at Tsunade. Next instant, he was hit with a killing-intent so strong, that his hands went numb and his crutch fell on the hard-wood floor with a loud clatter.
"I would be careful about what tone I am using when I am speaking to the Hokage," said Jiraiya, and even though his face showed no sign of animosity, Danzo could feel well enough that it was coming from Jiraiya.
"So what do we do now?" asked Shikaku, breaking the building tension between the Sannins and Danzo.
"Continue with restoring the village to the way it was, there is an influx of patients so I am going to need more medics, I want a genin group prepared to meet me tomorrow at the hospital. The Uchiha district is closed off and I am sealing the entrance, now it's a forbidden zone of class one security. All the assets of the clan had been transferred to Konoha's assets and will be used for the benefit of Konoha only. Are there any questions?" said Tsunade, her voice as cold as a glacier.
"You can't take the Uchiha assts, it belong to the heir of the clan, Sasuke. As for the district, you can't seal it without his permission," said a civilian council member earning nods of agreement from some fellow members as well.
"For your information, your precious Uchiha has deserted the village, he left with Orochimaru. I have not declared him a missing-nin yet but if you don't stop with the pointless favoritism, I will and also set all the hunter-nins I have on his tail. So shut up!" shouted Tsunade, the civilian hit the floor unconscious, unable to handle the amount of killer-intent radiating from Tsunade. Even some of the clan-heads leaned away from her, uncomfortable with the thought that the Godaime Hokage's wrath might turn to them.
"And what of the Uzumaki?" asked Danzo, crutch back in hand.
"I have sent four ANBU squads looking for him, but we strongly believe that he is dead," said Tsunade, her voice cracked at the end and she sat back down, trying the hold the tears that were already forming in her eyes from falling.
"What evidence do you have of that?" Danzo asked again, this time he was more than a little concerned.
"The pool of blood that we found belonged to him," said Jiraiya slowly, in a low voice. First he lost his student, who was like a son to him and now his god-son who was more like a grand-son. How many times will he fail before his miserable life ended?
"That does not mean that he is dead. It might mean that he had woken up and left or could have been that some other people might have him," reasoned Danzo. Konoha losing their jinchuuriki made them weaker and more vulnerable to attack from other villages. They were already suffering from the Sand/Sound invasion as it is.
"No boy his age could lose that much blood and survive. I have already been to the valley," said Tsunade, confirming her point that Naruto was indeed dead.
"Then where is the body?"
"We are still looking but I think that wild animals got to him before we did," replied Kakashi, Tsunade couldn't contain her tears at that and they started flowing freely down her face. Seeing this, Jiraiya was the first to act.
"For now the meeting is over," said Jiraiya with no less authority than the Hokage herself.
"But—" started a council member but shut up when a hard glare was directed towards him from the Sage Sannin, and the council member apologized immediately not wanting to face his wrath in any manner, seeing what happened to his friend a few minutes ago.
Tsunade, Jiraiya, Kakashi, and Shizune all made their way back to the Hokage tower where Shizune got busy behind the receptionist's desk. Kakashi placed his report on the Hokage's desk, took a glance at the sobbing Hokage and then left, closing the door softly behind his back. When the door clicked shut, Tsunade couldn't maintain her already slipping stoicism any more, she clutched Jiraiya like her life depended on it and cried to her heart's content on his chest. He also held her close to him and tried to give as much comfort he could as possible, knowing what she felt as he was also feeling a similar pain at losing Naruto. Outside, noises of celebration could be heard as the villagers rejoiced that the demon that resided in Konoha had finally met its end.
Well, what do you think? This is only my second fic so I definitely will welcome critical reviews and please point out my mistakes, that way I can improve my writing and provide with more satisfying results. The idea for this fiction came to me when I realized that Itachi was intended to be a mole among the Akatsuki when he finally rejoined Konoha at the fourth shinobi world war. Caution: This fic will have a darker plot, and a darker Naruto. He is mature and cunning, and he has motives of his own. Oh and there is also a big time skip coming up ahead! If you want to find out where this will go keep reading and please review!
Poll: Do you want Naruto to wield Kubiriki Bocho (Zabuza's sword)?